Kukla's Korner Hockey
I missed this story from February 1st…
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
They learned all about death here in Swift Current 21 years ago when the bus carrying the local heroes, the Broncos of the Western Hockey League, caught black ice and whipping wind in the wrong combination coming out of that very first curve, flew off the Trans-Canada and crashed, leaving four young hockey players lifeless.
And they learned it again 21 days ago when, four provinces and two time zones away, a van carrying the Phantoms, a high-school basketball team from Bathurst, N.B., slid in bad weather into a transport trailer, killing seven players and the coach’s wife.
“It hit home, that’s for sure,” says Joe Sakic, the Broncos star who survived that long-ago crash and went on to a spectacular career with the Quebec Nordiques and the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
It’s about quiet brilliance. Being, to knock off the old Johnny Rodgers nickname, an ordinary superstar.
His Red Wings are running away with the NHL regular season, by far the best team in the opening four months with a shot – not a great shot, but still more than a mathematical possibility – at breaking league records for wins and points in a single season.
Lidstrom is the best player on the best team. So shouldn’t an awful lot more people be making an awful lot more noise about Lidstrom winning his first Hart Trophy as league MVP this season?
“I have no idea why Nick Lidstrom hasn’t won a Hart already,” said an exasperated Detroit GM Ken Holland. “I just don’t know what people are watching. I mean, he doesn’t win because why, he’s not a good quote?”
In the last few days there seems to be numerous Lidstrom for MVP stories and I wonder who is behind this talk. It is not like the Wings to promote an individual player, but a few weeks ago on local Detroit radio, Scotty Bowman was asked about Lidstrom. Scotty praised Nick and and said it was up to the media to start the Lidstrom for MVP campaign. Looks like they were listening or Bowman is bending some ears with a few well placed phone calls.
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
It’s possible we could soon witness the final month or two of Sakic’s marvelous career. He’s still rehabbing a serious injury, one that has made skating impossible for weeks now, and he’ll be 39 in five months. There are some around the longtime captain who hint this could be it if his body doesn’t respond.
If that is the case, just in case, get your tickets now for the Avs’ final home games. If this season is the end for Sakic, it’ll probably be a long time before we see someone of his kind again.
But if I were a betting man, I’d say we’ll see more of No. 19 beyond this year. Don’t forget: The next Winter Olympics are in his hometown of Vancouver, and Sakic would dearly love to play on one last Canadian team in front of friends and family.
more on Sakic…
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
It’s believed Murray has held talks with the Kings, Lightning and Coyotes to see who they will make available if they become sellers once the deadline arrives.
But with the Senators struggling, teams are trying to squeeze Murray for more, which means if Ottawa makes a deal, it might be forced to overpay.
The Senators might be willing to dangle prospects Brian Lee, Ilja Zubov and Nick Foligno as part of a deal.
read on for more NHL talk…
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
For the love of God, for pity’s sake, somebody shoot this team.
Put it down, out if its misery.
And if Mats Sundin isn’t saying today, where do I sign, or un-sign, then he’s a sadomasochist, perhaps a fool.
What the captain did say last night, after taking nearly an hour to emerge from the inner sanctum of the dressing room, was: “Everybody that wore the sweater tonight should be ashamed of the way we played. The effort we put out in front of our home fans was embarrassing.”
from the Tennessean,
Bettman said he believes the new local ownership group can help the Predators get out of the red, even if the cap rises next season.
“I’m hoping and expecting, and I’m optimistic, that increased attendance, increased sponsorship involvement, increased business—that can be done with the enthusiastic support of the community—will also be a factor in bridging that gap,” Bettman said.
The spending money will have to come in part from increased fan and corporate support, since Nashville doesn’t get the big radio and television contracts some other NHL markets enjoy….
“If you think back to five years ago, there were teams with $20 million payrolls and $80 million payrolls,” Bettman said. “We believe the range we have is one that enables all teams to be competitive.
“If you look at the playoff races, if you look at our standings, I don’t think there’s a league with this kind of competitive balance. Every game throughout the season matters.”
On the plus side for small-market teams, the NHL’s revenue-sharing money increases as the league’s overall revenues rise.
Pharmaceutical billionaire Daryl Katz’s offer to buy the Edmonton Oilers has been accepted.
The Katz camp has received letters of intent to sell from every member of the Edmonton Investors Group (EIG). This means, pending league and financial approval in the months to come, Katz for all intents and purposes will be the new owner of the franchise, however it may take up to two months for the NHL to grants it’s approval. Katz will hold a conference call on Wednesday to discuss the impending sale.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
And so, the prodigal will return, starting with Thursday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Tocchet, like Gretzky, is an NHL lifer, which suggests that his two years away from the game must have been difficult for him.
“It killed him,” agreed Gretzky. “You go through various stages — being disappointed, being embarrassed. But for him, now, his mom and dad are older people and they’ve been through a lot. It was tough on everybody — for him and his family, but you know what? He’s come through it. He’s grateful to the league for giving him a second chance. He’s grateful for how the league handled the investigation. There’s no animosity. He’s just looking to move forward.”
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
Maybe Peter Forsberg will wind up in Philly or Denver or wherever; but a close friend of PF’s tells us that he wants to close his career on Broadway. Which prompts the question: would Glen Sather want PF? …
It says here that, yes, Jaromir Jagr will be a Ranger next season. …
Wouldn’t it be hilarious if – after the endless crying in the Toronto media – the Leafs made the playoffs! …
more NHL bits…
from Craig Simpson at CBC,
Football’s Holy Grail is a silver football sitting on an elongated pedestal. That’s it. Nothing else. At 23 inches tall, it is often dwarfed by the behemoths of men who hold it in one hand like a stick over their heads in victory.
Somehow, this slight of a symbol doesn’t fit all the grandiose of the game it represents. The impact of the trophy pales in comparison to the effort it takes to achieve the accomplishment.
The Stanley Cup on the other hand, is larger than life, is a worshiped institution and in my opinion, is the greatest trophy in all of sports.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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